Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Art & Art History

First Advisor

Yumi Janairo Roth

Second Advisor

James Cordova

Third Advisor

Françoise Duresse-Stimilli

Abstract

Riding the Fence, Pulling the Trigger is a multidimensional creative project that explores mixed identity, personal memory, and experiential knowledge through visual storytelling and experimental mark-making. This project is the culmination of three years of collecting research and producing artwork that focuses on the intersection of place and identity to elucidate a personal experience of growing up culturally, ethnically, and geographically mixed. In investigating and presenting this work from a personal perspective, I am working to create an authentic conversation about the multiethnic, multicentered experience in America that resides in physical and psychological inbetween spaces.

The purpose of this work and research is to present a creative practice that embodies the experience of this physical and psychological in between space and to critically examine how form, material, and mark-making can engage this conversation. This project makes visual and theoretical connections between three distinct areas of conceptual focus which include: inbetween space, familial knowledge, and identity shaped by place. These areas of focus create the framework for the decision-making process in producing the artwork and help to build an aesthetic logic in the culminating exhibition. My methodological approach involves on-site research (namely in Southern New Mexico and Western Minnesota for this project) to develop critical and dialogic perspectives of the landscape, material culture, and visual heritage of the place. This on-site research is recombined with memory, family traditions, and theoretical influences to produce creative work that engages hand-made objects, found material, and borrowed text. Conceptually-driven, yet object-oriented, Riding the Fence, Pulling the Trigger provides a multidimensional approach to unpacking the complex experience of having mixed identity.

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